5G forecast to dominate mobile connections by 2027
The report explains that “the increase is due to stronger than expected demand in China and North America, driven in part by decreasing prices of 5G devices.”
It also notes that 5G subscriptions are being added at double the amount 4G subscriptions are, adding that “there was also a net addition of 98 million 5G subscriptions globally in Q3 2021, compared to 48 million new subscriptions.”
Ericsson also found that people are using more data than they estimated. Five years ago, the Swedish firm estimated that people would be consuming 8.5GB a month of data by now, but people are actually using 11.4GB/month.
It also forecast mobile traffic to be 51exabytes a month, however, it is now expected to be 65EB/month.
“At the end of 2021, it is estimated that 5G networks will cover more than two billion people,” the report said.
However, not all of the vendor’s estimations have proved as high as it expected. In 2011, Ericsson thought there would be 8.4 billion mobile subscriptions by 2016 when there was actually 7.4 billion. Then, in 2016 it predicted there to be 9.1 billion by now when there is 8.1 billion at the moment – overestimating by a billion each time.
Nevertheless, smartphones and 4G subscriptions alone have accelerated faster than predicted. Ericsson said in 2011 that there would be 510 million 4G connections in 2016, proving to be a complete underestimation when there were 2 billion in the end. Also, in 2015, it suggested that there would be 4.1billion 4G subscriptions by now when there are in fact 4.7 billion.
5G has followed a similar pattern. In 2016, Ericsson forecast 150 million 5G mobile connections by 2021, when in fact there are 660 million now.
Ericsson now estimates that in 2027, there will be 8.9 billion mobile connections of all types. 5G will dominate by then, and 4G will decline alongside 2G and 3G which will be plateauing.
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